The dawn of a new century and millennium is upon us and prompts many to reflect on ourpast and prepare for the future. Our nation, divinely blessed, has much to be thankful for.The blessings of liberty resulting from the republic our forefathers designed have farsurpassed the wildest dreams of all previous generations.The form of government secured by the Declaration of Independence, the AmericanRevolution, and the Constitution is unique in history and reflects the strongly held beliefsof the American Revolutionaries. At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, aMrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the longtask now finished, asked him directly:
Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or amonarchy?
A republic if you can keep it
responded Franklin.The term republic had a significant meaning for both of them and all early Americans. Itmeant a lot more than just representative government and was a form of government instark contrast to pure democracy where the majority dictated laws and rights. And gettingrid of the English monarchy was what the Revolution was all about, so a monarchy was outof the question.The American Republic required strict limitation of government power. Those powerspermitted would be precisely defined and delegated by the people, with all public officials being bound by their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. The democratic process would be limited to the election of our leaders and not used for granting special privilegesto any group or individual nor for defining rights.Federalism, the binding together loosely of the several states, would serve to prevent theconcentration of power in a central government and was a crucial element in the new Republic. The authors of the Constitution wrote strict limits on the national governmentand strove to protect the rights and powers of the states and the people.Dividing and keeping separate the legislative, executive, and the judiciary branches,provided the checks and balances thought needed to preserve the Republic theConstitution created and the best way to preserve individual liberty.The American Revolutionaries clearly chose liberty over security, for their economicsecurity and their very lives were threatened by undertaking the job of forming a new andlimited government. Most would have been a lot richer and safer by sticking with the King.Economic needs or desires were not the driving force behind the early American patrioticeffort.The Revolution and subsequent Constitution settled the question as to which authority should rule man
s action: the individual or the state. The authors of the Constitutionclearly understood that man has free will to make personal choices and be responsible forthe consequences of his own actions. Man, they knew, was not to be simply a cog in a wheel, or a single cell of an organism, or a branch of a tree, but an individual with a free will and responsibility for his eternal soul as well as his life on earth. If God could permitspiritual freedom, government certainly ought to permit the political freedom that allowsone to pursue life
s dreams and assume one
s responsibilities. If man can achieve spiritualredemption through grace, which allows him to use the released spiritual energy to pursueman
s highest and noblest goals, so should man
s mind, body, and property be freed fromthe burdens of unchecked government authority. The Founders were confident that this would release the creative human energy required to produce the goods and services that would improve the living standards of all mankind.